Ellen Harvey Showell

Selected Works

Children's Fiction: Ghost Stories and Mysteries
A realistic tale set in Appalachian hill country. 12-year old Willy and his sister dare to befriend a wild child of the woods--even though she is said to have drowned years ago. They take separate paths to discover the truth about her--just in time to prevent another tragedy. An Authors' Guild Backinprint edition.
History of American Women In Science: Inventors
True to the author's bent, this non-fiction book starts with an original fairy tale. Otherwise, it presents real stories of fascinating women inventors from colonial days to outstanding scientists of present time. Co-authored with Fred M.B. Amram. Ideal for homeschoolers.
Musical Plays for Children to Perform
A young girl who loves to dance finds a fiddle-playing boy on magical Blue Mountain. An Appalachian fairy tale with traditional and original songs. Based on the novel by the same name.
A musical play on words, ideal for elementary or middle school productions. Six syllables become a word that has to find its meaning -- a hilarious exploration of language. Fun, jazzy songs and dances. Could complement a poetry or creative writing unit.
Death Penalty
In this one-act play described as "Powerful," "Deeply moving,", Men and women with opposite feelings about the death penalty confront condemned persons and each other--and a medical technician confronts his own soul. "It makes you think." Especially suitable for death penalty focus groups. Feel free to downloadthe script.

My Works

The Ghost of Tillie Jean Cassaway
"This is a quietly scary story with the mysterious effects of drifting fog. The mystery...will appeal to the child who understands that ordinary things can be just as mysterious and spooky as crumbling castles and haunted graveyards." --from a review by Carolyn Peterson of the Pujet Sound Council, Seattle, WA.

Willy and his sister, Hilary, want to know the truth about the strange, wild girl who becomes their friend. Is she really a ghost, as people say? Their quest leads them to an abandoned house in a remote hollow, to a small grave, and to a cranky old hermit on an island. Hovering over it all is the ghost of Tillie Jean, who drowned in the river many years ago. With original drawings by Caldecott award-winning illustrator Stephen Gammel. Suitable for ages 9 on up. First published in 1978 by Four Winds Press. Winner of the South Carolina Children's Book Award. This Author's Guild Backinprint.com Edition is $9.95 plus shipping. Order online at:

CHILDREN'S FICTION


NON-FICTION


From Indian Corn to Outer Space, WOMEN INVENT IN AMERICA
"It could be a coffee table book, its interest is so basic...the lives of these women are fascinating...their stories, told in their own words, are riveting." - from a review by Carol Hall, editor of The Mountain Messenger, Lewisburg, WV

Curiosity and faith that they could solve a problem led the women in this book to become outstanding inventors. But they often had to overcome the idea that women were not mentally or physically able to be creative in ways that used technology. They proved otherwise.

What early American invented a new way to grind corn? Whose medical inventions have saved the lives of American soldiers? Whose experiments made possible Kevlar, the miracle fabric used for bullet-proof vests? Who pioneered computer technology? Who really invented Monopoly? Find out in this book! Co-authored with Fred M.B. Amram, Ph.D.

Published by Cobblestone Publishing, Inc., a division of Cricket Magazine group,. Soft cover. Index. 160 pages. Grades 4-9. $19.50 plus $4.00 shipping and handling. To order by phone, call 1-800-821-0115. Or to order on-line, click on link below.

MUSICAL PLAYS FOR CHILDREN TO PERFORM


Scripts and Scores Available


Cecelia and the Blue Mountain Boy
The play, based on the book of the same name, is about a young girl who loves music and dancing. She finds a magical place that fulfills her dreams--then loses it, falling into sadness. Not until her dreary home village is transformed does she re-discover Blue Mountain and her true love.

The story was inspired by the author's own imaginings as she was a child growing up in small river towns in West Virginia.

In addition to the roles of Cecelia and the boy, there are parts for a father, two sisters, a preacher, a mountain woman, and townspeople.

With original music as well as traditional songs. First produced in Parkersburg, WV, by the Actors Guild as a Guild Builders project for young people. Contact the author to learn how to buy scripts and for permission to perform.

Twiddelaxadaffy
What would happen to English if the letter "U" turned upside down? What would "Q" do? How could a teacher say, "BE QUIET!"? Many such questions are raised in this musical comedy for children to perform.

When "U" goes tumbling, important, odd and silly words can't be said. "U" has helpers in his mischief -- a string of syllables that have no meaning, but hang together anyway. TWID-DEL-LAX-A-DAF-FY. These six characters finally help "U" up, and are rewarded by the children of the world, who give them meaning.

"The play allows the actors an opportunity to whoop and holler and dance and sing...all important parts of the creative process." -- Carol Gulley, when Artist in Residence at the Bethesda Academy for the Performing Arts.

The music was composed by Kora Lee Khambatta, a music and drama teacher.

The play is suitable for a regular class or a theater class to perform. It has been performed in elementary schools in Arlington, VA. Click on the title to go to a page with more details about the play and suitable musical instruments. Contact the author for queries about scripts and permission for performances.

ADULT PLAYS

The Executioners
Are we doing the right thing when we put anyone to death in the name of justice? In The Executioners, characters voice deeply felt convictions on both sides of the question. The format is a dialogue between a Questioner and three Condemned individuals--each prisoner's last chance to talk with others before he or she dies--a final opportunity to be truthful to self and others. The dialogue then opens up to Respondents (who are sitting as though part of the audience) and to relatives of the prisoners and their victims. The medical technicians who do the lethal injecting when the questioning is over play a dramatic part in a surprise ending.

Contact the author for information about ordering scripts, planning productions. A video of a production at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington is available.

Harder to find


THE TRICKSTER GHOST

An eight-year old boy knows he's not the one taking people's things in their house. It must be a ghost! With the help of his older sister, he finally proves he is right.

Published in 1992 by Scholastic, this paperback "first chapter" book was a Little Apple book club book. Although no longer "in print," the author has several copies. Contact author for more information.

CECELIA AND THE BLUE MOUNTAIN BOY- The novel

Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1983

This middle grade novel, the basis for the musical play of the same name, is about a young girl who loves music and dancing. She finds a magical place that fulfills her dreams--then loses it, falling into sadness. Not until her dreary home village is transformed does she re-discover Blue Mountain and her true love. A Parents' Choice Award for Literature in the Field of Social Studies. Not in print.


OUR MOUNTAIN

Published as fiction, but mostly true stories, told to the author by Jimmy and Corey Allder. Bradbury Press, 1991. Two boys have real life adventures as they explore caves, haunted houses and river trails near their West Virginia home. Not in print.